Baby Horse Info & What It’s Called
The baby horse is the horse which is usually less than one year old. Horses are domesticated animals, which have been helping humans with work and transportation for the last 6,000 years. They’ve been around for much longer though, and they went through an evolutionary process which lasted over 50 million years to get to the stage at which they are today. The baby horse is a highly capable animal, which is capable of moving away from a predator from the first few hours after he’s born and capable of running away from them after just one day.
What is a baby horse called?
The name used for the baby horse is foal, which is the name that they keep until they are one year old. While both the female and the male baby horse have their own specific names, those are used until they’re full adults, so foal remains the more appropriate name for an equine of small age. If you do want to differentiate between a female and a male, then use filly for the former, and colt for the latter.
The foal becomes a yearling once he goes past the one year mark. There are no other general terms to be used for horses that are not yet adults, but not foals anymore either. The horse becomes an adult when he’s three years old, at which point the female horse is called a mare, and the male horse is a stallion.
The baby horse is often confused by people with the ponies, which are small horses that don’t grow to a normal size, but if you look carefully you will notice that there are differences when it comes to the proportions of the body. While a pony can be used for riding or other work, the baby horse shouldn’t be used for either. You can spot a foal by its slim bodies and very long legs.
Early development of the baby horse
The birth of the baby horse takes place after a 11 month gestation period. Thanks to the fact that the horse is considered a prey animal, the birth is a quick one and the capabilities of the newly born foal are considerable from the first few hours. A newly born is capable of standing up and nursing from the first hour, being able to canter and trot a couple of hours later, galloping by the end of the first day. One thing to keep in mind is that the legs of the newborn baby horse are about 90% as long as the legs of a fully grown horse.
He will grow quickly, as long as he gets a good diet and remains healthy, putting up to three pounds of weight per day. About ten days after birth, the foal can start eating solid food and after around two months the diet needs to be supplemented, because the milk of the mother can’t keep him growing at optimum rate by itself.
If you want to see some foal pictures, take a look at the ones available below. Click on them to get a larger version. If you want even more of them, take a look on our baby horse pictures page.
Training For a Young Horse, How To Go About It
In order to be able to use the domestic horses in various equestrian disciplines, these need to be trained accordingly, starting even from the period next to their birth. Starting the training program the earliest possible ensures the necessary progress for the horse. The goals of this early progress are not to bring the horse to a certain fitness condition, but to get it used to the interaction with humans, the surroundings, as well as to other horses. The only aspects of the physical condition of the young horse are, like said before, not getting him to a high level of fitness, but providing the correct nutrition elements to him that would allow the best development later on. Since a good nutrition cannot go without a proper exercising program, it is important that the young horse has all the necessary freedom that allows it to run, walk and graze as much as possible, every day.
Even from the start, when the foal is 9-10 days old, it is good to be brought alongside the mare in the stables, so that it can follow the mare’s actions, controlled by the handler of course. This makes the foal accommodate to the basic moves that will need to be assimilated at a later stage. If going on the public roads or for long distances, it would be better to have two handlers available, one for the mare and one for the foal.
A few days later after this stage, the mare can be walked around the stable, while the foal is still inside and the foal will follow the moves of the mare, even if separated by the fence. This gives confidence to the foal and lets it do the moves freely, without being controlled by a handler. Step by step, the foal can walk with a towel around the neck and then have a soft leather halter, which is in fact a foal slip fit. Rather than pulling the foal, it is much better to push it, with arms around the quarters. This allows it to lead and also gain resistance.
The training continues until the foal is one or two years old, when it should learn to lead at hand. Being careful not to lead the foal from the front, but rather from the sides, having handlers on both sites and left on the shoulders, one can also turn to a long whip to tap the foal’s right and left flanks in order to encourage it to go straight forward.
The foal trainer should not forget at any point two of the horse training principles. The first is that the humans also have fun doing this; they enjoy working with such great animals. The second is that the humans also need to pass on some boundaries that are to be fully respected. During the training, every action a human takes influences the animal and the trust he possesses, therefore it takes a lot of attention. Making the horse respect the boundaries without being rough is the ideal way.